Farewell, How I Met Your Mother: 13 Clue-Filled Episodes To Watch Before the Final Season

The writers of How I Met Your Mother (which returns Sept. 23 at 8/7c) are a clever bunch. In addition to introducing countless subplots that are revisited throughout the series, moving seamlessly through flashbacks (and flash-forwards) and juggling the storylines of five main characters, the team behind the CBS sitcom has never failed to drop juuuust enough hints about the Ted Mosby’s eventual wife, known among viewers as simply “The Mother.”

VIDEO | Scoop on How I Met Your Mother‘s ‘Suspense Movie’ Wedding Weekend, Episode 200′s ‘Very Exciting’ Reveal and More

But in eight seasons, there sure has been a lot to remember. Instead of desperately binge-watching to prepare for Season 9, we’ve provided a cheat sheet. Here are 13 essential HIMYM episodes that can help you piece together the who, what, when, where and why of Mrs. Ted Mosby.

Flip through the gallery and then hit the comments with your suggestions.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Marcinho11 says:

    The show shouldn’t have taken 8 years to finally introduce the mother.

    • Jackson says:

      I suppose a mystery novel shouldn’t take til the final 30 pages to announce the murderer either, should they? Would you prefer they tell you on page 1 so that the whole novel is rendered meaningless?

      People like you just need everything spelled out from day 1 because you are too lazy or too impatient. It must truly suck to be you.

      • ABBY says:

        Personally I don’t care that they haven’t introduced the mother, my theory was always been that introducing new characters can be risky and if they got it wrong (like they have with a number of love interests for both Ted and Robin) and she’s lame we’d be stuck with her forever once they had committed someone as being the mother so better be safe than sorry.
        That being said HIMYM isn’t a murder mystery, people watch it for comedy not suspense and
        it doesn’t take the majority of people 8 years to read a book which is how long it has taken HIMYM to introduce the mother so I don’t think this is a valid comparison.

        • Ari says:

          I am nervous that the mother is going to be like the story of the goat. For years it was built up as this legendary story and then it was so lame I was ashamed of them for talking about it for so long. I am very worried I’m going to feel that way about the mother.

    • Liz says:

      Well, they actually didn’t. If the show was cancelled after season 1, the mother was going to be Victoria. If the show was cancelled after season 3, the mother was going to be Stella. (See: S6 DVD extras.) The identity of the mother changed as the show got more popular.

      • madhatter360 says:

        This is one of the reasons I’ve been geeking out about how he meets the mother. Originally, it was supposed to be Victoria, who he meets at a friend’s wedding. She’s not a guest, she’s the cake baker. Now we know he’s meeting the mother at his best friend’s wedding. She’s not a guest though, she’s in the band.

      • Carole Lalonde says:

        I agree, and through the 8 years, the show stretch out lengthways so much that it leads to unconvincing situations.But I like the show anyway and will watch the season 9.

    • Sam says:

      Why not some of us enjoy this show.

    • Kristyana says:

      Ya but it also kept the watchers watching. Since they were so eager to find out who the mother is.

  2. brycealexander says:

    I hate how people get so wrapped up in the goal of meeting the mother and not the journey. If you want to enjoy watching HIMYM, watch it as you would watch Friends and not as you would watch Lost. You shouldn’t be constantly looking for all the answers, even if Ted is. Enjoy Robin Sparkles and the slap bet and legendary laser tag. The jokes are more important than the actual storyline, truly.

    • Babar says:

      Well said. I am always annoyed by people who complain about it taking so long for us to meet the mother.

    • Olivia says:

      True, but last season was dull and boring. I did not enjoy that one.

    • Azerty says:

      I would agree if the journey had been about Ted. Except for the last 4 years it was not. Since Stella I don’t have the feeling that Ted evolved. Every other characters did, except him and there was litteraly no story for him.

      • Matt says:

        This is how I feel when I say it’s gone on too long. It’s become a show that I still watch because I enjoy it but I don’t love it like I did. People are too quick to say stop watching when we complain about quality dropping off. This was how I felt about the office in later years too. Even when it wasn’t the greatest I still felt it was a good show and worthy of my time or I would have.

    • Kenya says:

      Totally agree! I LOVE this show and have enjoyed the storylines, mother related or not!

  3. Lisa says:

    If they pull this last season off I think HIMYM could get remembered as one of the most innovative and well done comedies in recent memory. There’s soo much heart and elaborate plot devices in this show. You don’t see alot of that effort on television anymore

  4. Jackson says:

    What soooooooo many people fail to realize is that, for Ted to have met his wife at Barney and Robin’s wedding, the story had to start with the day he met Robin. If Robin and Barney had never got married, Ted wouldn’t have met his wife. So, the show is about everyone’s journey to get to this point.

    Sad how many people missed it, or wouldn’t let themselves enjoy an amazing show because they were hung up on one detail.

    • LSJ says:

      This makes absolutely no sense. Why wouldn’t the story start with when he met Barney?

    • Yuri says:

      Right. But how could the writers know Ted would meet the mother at Barney and Robin’s wedding (hence the show starting with how he met Robin) when they had never planned for Barney to marry Robin? No one saw Barney/Robin’s chemistry until Zip, Zip, Zip in season 1. The writers planned for their relationship to last six episodes before breaking them up for good (until they admitted/realised it was a mistake)? Barney and Robin were accidental, and only followed through with reluctance due to their loud fans – not a grand master plan that the writers planned all along.

      I would say this, like Ted’s kids, the writers might know the general details of how Ted met the Mother, the one with the Yellow Umbrella, but the specific details and the ‘How’ have obviously changed and evolved over the course of the past 8 seasons. Yes, this show is a journey, for us and for the writers too.

      • No More Universe Guy says:

        Well stated – I think what you noted is the key regarding the overall storyline. The Barney-Robin tandem wasn’t (I don’t believe) in the original season 1 ‘plan’ for Bays-Thomas. That Barney-Robin dynamic grew over time, and the fans really took to both of them. Hence, by season 5, they almost ‘had’ to go in that direction: Barney-Robin. The HIMYM fans wanted that, and ratings matter. Coincidentally, that’s when the Stella storyline (end of S4) came to a close, and (as others note), that’s when Ted’s storyline (and character development) started to falter [beginning in S5]. It wasn’t Ted-Robin at that point, maybe not even Marshall-Lilly at that point – it was all Barney-Robin. The show pivoted in season 5.

        That happens sometimes in series – the show shifts course off the main character. Happy Days wasn’t about ‘the Fonz’ in S1, Family Matters wasn’t about Urkel in S1, HIMYM didn’t revolve around Barney in S1, but it certainly has over time. Barney has helped make HIMYM successful – that’s all good, even if it hurt [too time and focus away] Ted’s character development in the show, which I think it did. But make no mistake, this show has revolved around Barney the past four seasons [S5,6,7,8]. That’s okay, that’s all good for the good and longevity of the show. However, now, it is time that Ted gets his due in S9 – he’s earned it.

    • Correct. Ted was never able to have a meaningful relationship because he was in love with Robin. By Robin getting married, Ted finally realized he was never going to get her and let him focus on finding the mother.

    • Michelle says:

      agreed. I love all the stories in this show. This isn’t the kind of show where it’s a suspense thriller. I actually find Ted the most irritating out of all of them. He’s constantly mopey, and they seem to introduce these girls as his girlfriends to fill in time. I have enjoyed Barney and Robin’s story more. It has been going so long now I have not been looking forward to finding out who the Mother is, as it will mean an end to the show – which i know at some point is inevitable. i think the show has run its course. the show was so fresh and young, and I feel it’s getting tired now. Eight seasons if phenomenal though, and it’s been a truly wonderful watch, with great characters, awesome dynamics, and funny/entertaining storylines. It will be missed by us.
      As for you saying that without the wedding Ted wouldn’t have met his wife. I totally agree, and this is true for life as well isn’t it? If you hadn’t gotten to a certain path in your own life, would you be where you are now? Even look at the Ted, Marshall, Lily story as well. If it wasn’t for Ted and Robin meeting and hooking up, there would be no Robin and Barney

      • No More Universe Guy says:

        Agree – life tends to spin itself out, one event leading to the next – domino effect. One missing piece, and all the other subsequent pieces may not fall into place.

        There’s a great line in the episode ‘The Final Page/Part2’, when in the new GNB building during the party to celebrate the GNB tower opening, a toast is made to Ted and the man making the toast says – “Here’s to Ted – without him, none of this would have been possible”, and as the camera cuts to a shot of Lilly and Marshall, as well as Robin and Barney in the nearby WWN building rooftop, we realize that statement of ‘none of this would have been possible’ refers to much more than ‘just a building.’ For my money, one of the best (if not the best) moment in the series thus far – it really hits home. Ted’s life goal may not be just to find ‘the mother’ – he also has become the catalyst for the other four people in his life.

  5. Emily says:

    How are any of these hints? They are flat-out facts about the mother.

  6. “accessory after his future life leaves” nope :)

  7. Jeff says:

    This show is and was great! They show you in 2015 when he has his daughter, HELLO we are going into 2014, so they played this show perfect from the start. It will be missed

  8. Babybop says:

    Though I was disappointed in the last couple seasons, this show does have some classic episodes. I still crack up at Ted not knowing how to spell “professor” even though I’ve seen that episode a million times. I just hope the pull a “The Office” and make the last season a great one.

  9. Md says:

    I really liked this show, I watch 8 seasons in 6 weeks and I really l

  10. Daisy Day says:

    I stopped watching 3 seasons ago. Not sure why, maybe because I didn’t like Robin and Barney together? I always hoped that Robin would be the mother….they have such fantastic chemistry.

    • Babar says:

      They made it pretty clear from the beginning that Robin isn’t the mother.

    • anna says:

      So did I. I really liked Ted and Robin together.

    • Damion says:

      While Ted and Robin do have great chemistry, Barney and Robin have twice that. I was one of those people who, for the longest time, wanted Ted and Robin together. It seems like they would always come back to it, only to have it fizzle. Then, I saw “The Final Page” (8-12). The chemistry between Barney and Robin was just off the charts in that episode. Bays/Thomas finally convinced me that it needs to be Barney instead of Ted.

  11. Kristal says:

    I think a real clue is when Barney takes Ted and Robin to a strip club for Thanksgiving in season one. At the end Ted meets a stripper named Tracy and tells his kids “And that’s the story of how I met your mother” and they freak out. So before ever even seeing her ankle, we knew her name.

  12. Mike R. says:

    Regardless of the quality of the last two seasons, I am excited to see how Ted’s journey ends, I only hope they can pull off such an ambitious final season.

  13. Leah says:

    Am I the only one who still hopes Robin is the mother? I know, I know they keep saying she’s not, but I’m with Marshall and I still believe in Ted/Robin. That second-to-last episode in Season 8 where Ted goes to Robin when she’s searching for her necklace… Amazing. Either way, I love the show so much. Currently re-watching Season 7 and going onto Season 8 before Season 9, I’m quite sad it won’t reach the landmark 10. I don’t see what everyone else sees when they say it’s gone down hill, I just love it for what it is and I think it’s been amazing so far!

    • Babar says:

      There is no way in hell that Robin is the mother.
      Whether, Ted and Robin end up together in the future is another question. Though, for that to happen, The Mother would have to die, and Barney and Robin would have to get divorced, which seems highly unlikely.

      • neha says:

        There was a very interesting theory posted about how Ted has been seen reading In the Time of Cholera a lot during the series, and supposedly it’s about a woman who chooses to marry a womanizer, but is loved by a decent man. And, then, at the end she chooses the decent man. And, therefore, it was supposed to foreshadow Robin ultimately choosing Ted. I can’t seem to find it right now, but it was pretty good as far as wild HIMYM theories go.

        • april-ann says:

          Wow, I agree that’s a very interesting theory. Even though we saw Robin say “no” to Ted when he told her he loved her and asked her if she loved him, I’ve always thought the love between them couldn’t be ignored, especially after that scene with the necklace (not just the scene itself but the fact that Ted was the one who was busy with other important things in his life but came running when she needed someone). And the kids look like they could be Robin and Ted’s (even though they’ve established Robin can’t have children, the magic of tv has been known to create “plausible” corrections to inconvenient problems such as that). But (sigh) I digress. We all know that the kids would never refer to or call their mother Aunt Robin. But there is something else besides the love between Ted and Robin that can’t be ignored and that is their romantic chemistry. I’ve never, ever felt any vibe of romantic chemistry whatsoever between Ted and Lily and, alas, never will.

      • Savannah says:

        But it happened didn’t it ?!

    • Robin says:

      Robin can’t physically have children, so she can’t be the mother.

  14. T says:

    I, for one, am happy to have taken this journey…after all, the title of the show is “How I MET Your Mother” … not “My Life With Your Mother” … clever, very very clever. Love it! Looking forward to Season 9.

  15. I was thinking that they should totally do a spin-off after HIMYM ends w/Ted & the mother BUT Bob Saget should be Ted not Josh Radner. Now there is a show I’d watch HAHA. Oh who am I kidding I’m going to be sad when HIMYM ends this upcoming year. I do know it is time to end it already and wish they had shown who the mother was a long time ago but I’m still a loyal viewer and am interested on how they plan to do this last season. I’m a bit skeptical that it is going to be ONE day for the entire season? We’ll see….

    • paula says:

      Well is the entire weekend in one season, with a lot of flashfowards and flashback, so I have faith that they can make an amaizing ending season.
      And also, when Marshall and Lily got married it was like three episodes, because is really a lot going on in weddings.

  16. Mikael says:

    I think having The Mother be the ultimate goal for Ted and having the show go on for 9 seasons was a difficult task because they just ended up making Ted come off as really desperate and pathetic. They never should have had him revisit his feelings for Robin. I liked them together too, but they stated that she and Ted don’t end up together. So they shouldn’t have had him pining over her again! Now he’s got to get over Robin and fall in love with The Mother over the course of one day? These past few seasons made me miss the first two.

  17. Bando Ciancia says:

    Episode 8×20 made me came up with a plot, that in my opinion would give himym a pinch of drama, as well as it’d make it unforgettable. I’m guessing that “the mother” in Present Time 2030 is dead, or about to be… The only clue that makes me think of this scenario is the fact that Ted REALLY wants those 45 extra days with her. Yeah, I know of course could be just ’cause he loves her, makin’ this just another ted’s “normal romantic stuff”. But I believe that by adding some drama to this series (at the end of it, especially) you could make it really memorable and unique. Anybody has the same feeling as I do? or you rather prefer a lovely funny finale as everyone else?

    • Niki says:

      I’ve thought about this theory as well…I think it would be really sad but an amazing ending to the show. I mean why would he be telling his kids this elaborate story in the first place?

      • Tamara says:

        They covered the answer to your question in another episode where Ted’s parents come to visit. Season 2 episode 3 “Brunch”. We find out Ted’s parents are getting a divorce. Towards the end of the episode he finds out his parents are a lot like him and Robin together and asks the story of how they met. He isn’t satisfied with their answer and then proceeds to say “Man when I have kids and I tell them how I met their mother I’m gonna tell them everything, the whole damn story.”

  18. Akansha says:

    I love the direction of HIMYM. It is very well directed & every character has a beautiful story going all along. My favourite couple is Barney & Robin :) They are just perfect & close to how couples are in real life. After having seen the episode where Ted is the Best Man on their wedding day, I wanna know their wedding story or may be they didnt even get married bcoz in that episode Ted says that it was a wedding in which things went terribly worng!!! I hope Barney & Robin get married even after all the ups & downs. I am looking forward to season 9 for meeting Ted’s Wife & to find out the outcome of Robin & Barney as a couple:)

  19. Scud says:

    I dont remember which the season & the episode, but future Ted goes to ‘The Wedding Bride 3’ with his future wife.

  20. briane says:

    Maybe the one who dropped the penny which Ted found on the train which cost him his dream job in Chicago is wait for it…… the mother

  21. Person (aren't I hilarious) says:

    I think the writers are going to stretch the storyline out a lot, and then have right at the end Ted meeting the mother, OR they’re going to have Ted meet her soon (in the next few episodes) and have them meeting, dating, being engaged, ect.)

  22. RaineriRRC says:

    Thank you so much for this list. Watched all the episodes =D

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